Friday, June 28, 2013

Deforestation in Haiti is Real and So is Reforestation

28 June 2013 - In February, I traveled to Haiti to meet with several of Lambi Fund's partners.  As we drove through the countryside, I was struck with the gut-wrenching rate of deforestation in the country. This was the pit-in-your-stomach kind of despair that comes with seeing a serious problem like deforestation on such a large scale.

The mountains were barren and soil erosion is severe.  As we drove through the Artibonite region, I felt as though I could be driving through the Southwest in the US.  I kept telling myself, "I am on a tropical island.  This desert I see before me is not correct.  The hilly mountains of Haiti should be lush and green" - yet they are not.

Despite this reality, I still have hope.  This photo showing the juxtaposition of deforestation and reforestation in Haiti is very real.

I have had the privilege to sit and talk with members of grassroots organizations who are working to plant thousands of trees throughout the country.  They are fiercely passionate about reforestation and see the direct correlation of abundant trees in their community and their well-being.  And while, it takes several years to see the fruits of their labor take root (pardon my pun), this is the newer and greener Haiti that is possible.  I know it is possible because it is happening as we speak - and I have seen it.